Some of the incident was captured on cell phone video and could shed light on what really happened.
Although the video is dark and blurry, friends of the alleged victim are heard on the video yelling for the officer to stop.
"Don't hit her man, don't hit her, come on bro, that's a female."
Twenty-five-year-old Stephanie Nickerson said the incident started when police showed up at her friend's home early Sunday morning. The police were called about a disturbance and wanted to search the house.
Nickerson said she told her friend that she didn't have to let police in, and that's when things escalated.
"He was like put your arms behind your back, and I jerked my arm away and said no I haven't done anything wrong. And immediately after I jerked my arm back he threw me on the ground, he held me by my neck, and punched me repeatedly in my face and head," Nickerson said.
Meanwhile her friends said they stood by, watching helplessly.
"He was hitting her with all his force. I could see him going all the way back, hitting her as hard as he could, and there was nothing I could do," eyewitness Tahveya Platt said.
Nickerson was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Both she and her friends insist the second charge didn't happen, especially since she claims to have been thrown on the ground with her hands pinned behind her.
"You can hear the officer, even though he has his knee in my back and my face is in the ground, he says don't hit me, don't hit me. How am I hitting you when I'm down on the ground, pinned, beat up?" Nickerson said.
Nickerson filed a formal complaint with the police department and is looking to hire a lawyer.
Durham Police said the complaint is being investigated by the police department's professional standards division, which is standard procedure.